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Lots of new principals in Oakland schools

Twenty of Oakland’s 98 schools will have new principals next year, according to a list that OUSD’s spokesman sent to me this afternoon (with a caveat that there might be some errors; it’s July, and the fact-checkers are on vacation). This is the longest list I’ve posted in blogging history (See 200720082009 or 2010, though those weren’t necessarily complete).

Here are the schools that will have new leaders this fall, according to the list from OUSD, which is posted in full below:

Elementary: East Oakland PRIDE (TBD), Emerson, Futures (TBD), Grass Valley (TBD) Hillcrest, Kaiser, Parker (TBD), REACH, Sequoia, Bella Vista (TBD), Laurel

Middle: Alliance, Roots International, West Oakland Middle, Bret Harte (TBD)

High: Coliseum College Prep (grades 6-12), East Oakland School of the Arts, Freshman Prep Academy (this is new, part of the restructuring at Castlemont), Mandela (Fremont), Media Academy (Fremont), and Metwest. (All three high schools on the Fremont campus will be under one principal, Dan Hurst.)

Below is the list from Oakland Unified, with the principal changes highlighted in yellow.

Principals in OUSD (changes highlighted in yellow)

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Jesse James

    God bless them all. May they be treated with integrity, respect and professionalism. May their new communities welcome them. May former principals land in positions that are encouraging and supportive.

    I am trying hard to forgive OUSD for lacking the honesty and transparency to make these changes openly. Good luck to us all!!!

  • Parent and Teacher

    Thornhill is getting a new principal too, though he has been a principal at another school.

  • OUSD active parent

    Claremont could use some new leadership. Sorry to see the middle school isn’t on this list.

  • Cranky Teacher

    While these numbers are somewhat bolstered by the unique situation with the three reuniting high schools, we have to be disappointed that several years into the new leadership regime, we are still seeing such high admin turnover.

    15-20% turnover a year translates into 30-60% turnover over three years, and 45-85% turnover over 5 years. No institution, and especially not the fragile balance that can lead to success in most challenged Oakland schools, can thrive with that kind of leadership turnover.

    And just as nobody wants to admit pay relates to teacher turnover, nobody is talking about paying principals more to attract and retain better leaders for the long haul. The job is extremely demanding at most schools, especially if you try to do it right.

  • The Truth Hurts

    Principals go through hell. They have an inside view of a world that few people can dare imagine. They see the real view of teachers’ practice in all its seasons. They deal with discipline. Policy. Paperwork. They try to keep the fire burning for those (classified and clerical) who still have a passion to work with students; they also have to light a fire under those who are burnt out and try to minimize the damage when there’s nothing that can be done. Don’t miss the deadline. Don’t violate the contract. Keep all secrets without anyone to talk to. Be the punching bag for all things Crudd (Contract related union/district drama).

    They make 20-40k less than counterparts in Fremont, for example. If a kid doesn’t eat, they are held responsible. If a kid eats junk, they are held responsible. Many teachers are so angry and hurt from heir own maltreatment that, unfortunately, we take our frustrations out on the principal who (usually) has no power to answer or solve our concerns.

    To be a principal and think you can actually make a difference in a school…especially an urban one, takes gumption, gall, nerve, ego, competence, naivete, leadership skill, and the kind of authority that doesn’t come from a certificate. I’d say we should pray for them… but wait, we can’t pray in schools so I guess they’re on their own.

    If a teacher isn’t rewarded financially for turning students around and going above and beyond, it is even more ludicrous that principals can turn around an entire school and receive nothing extra.

    I read a blog post here about Dr. Smith making 250k. People were complaining.

    You get what you pay for people. He’s probably underpaid. So are the principals. So are the teachers.

    In a sign of how ignorant things often get in education world, people would like to slash the salary of the Supt to pay for an extra classroom aide (or whatever they said). What kind of ignorant, back-woods thinking is that. Just as you wouldn’t slash the pilot’s salary to pay for an extra stewardess – you have to pay a price to have and keep good people.

    The turnover is high for principals and will only get higher as long as parents and teachers make the principal the scapegoat for them not doing their jobs effectively. Sorry, but the truth hurts.

  • The Truth Hurts

    A great principal is rare. I dont mean to say I dont think there are any. Sure there are some. Just like there are some great teachers. But most principals look at what really goes on in classrooms, realize they have no real power to change it (or the people don’t want to change) and give up.

    There’s the Us vs Them mindset. That’s the big problem in Oakland. The Parents vs. Teachers vs Principals. These three groups act like they are enemies at times. It’s sad. Kids have no chance system wide as long as there is big infighting with adults.

    Nobody should be surprised at principal turnover. The truth is, I know teachers who talk like its a point of pride that they ran off a principal….or two…. or three. And I know some parents who are the same way. Its like a badge of honor. I’ve heard it. I was a teacher and I am a parent. Very active. There are just enough people in leadership throughout OUSD who are full of you-know-what to make the whole thing stink.
    Teachers wont take each other to task. They rarely confront each other. Principals are the same way. Everybody kind of cruises along even when things are going badly. Where are the people with integrity who will stand up to their peers and tell them to shape up or get out?

    How much would we pay for THOSE kind of principals and teachers? Priceless.

    This blog is nice. Some people are recognized every now and then. But when a bad/ineffective principal will always make the same money as a very effective one – how can we expect them to fight the behind the scenes battles that have to be fought for a school to thrive.

    You can’t. The Truth Hurts

  • Nextset

    It is possible that principal frustration is tied to district policy – of running failure factories?

    It’s frustrating to be in charge of a failure factory.

    If principals were given the power they had in the ’60s combined with the student placement in the various campuses done to avoid mixing functional and non functional students (those who failed to meet the program at a given school were flunked out to a lower-class school) I think principal morale would return to acceptable limits.

  • Harold

    Discipline. It has to be a priority from the top.

    The whole system is dysfunctional. If Tony Smith wants to make a difference. Be an agent for positive-change. He needs to get control of this problem. A consistent plan is needed K-12.

    The AP testing scandal at Skyline -illustrates, painfully so, the lack of leadership we have, at one of the most critical positions (administration).

  • J.R.

    “Teachers wont take each other to task. They rarely confront each other. Principals are the same way. Everybody kind of cruises along even when things are going badly. Where are the people with integrity who will stand up to their peers and tell them to shape up or get out?

    How much would we pay for THOSE kind of principals and teachers? Priceless.

    This blog is nice. Some people are recognized every now and then. But when a bad/ineffective principal will always make the same money as a very effective one – how can we expect them to fight the behind the scenes battles that have to be fought for a school to thrive”.

    Job security that is too broad and ingrained can breed complacency and worse, even an arrogant laissez-faire attitude. Eventually the whole system gets corrupt from the top down, as ours has been for decades now.